Apple Cider Vinegar

Did you know you can make your own apple cider vinegar?  It’s one of those things that just never occurred to me that I should be able to make.  Surely I had to have some sort of special equipment to do so, right?  Nope!  It’s as simple as buying a bottle of raw, unfiltered ACV like Bragg’s ACV and adding some apple cider to it.  The stuff floating around in the vinegar is the living mother and if you add sugar to it (apple cider) it will convert the sugar to vinegar and grow.  It’s actually a lot like kombucha.  It makes a SCOBY very similar in look and texture to a kombucha SCOBY and is just as simple, if not more, to make.

Here is how I made my first ACV mother:

Take 1 cup unfiltered ACV and add one cup apple cider.  Cover with a coffee filter and stick in the back of your cupboard for about a month undisturbed.  When you check on it a month later, you should see a mother floating on top covering the top of the jar or at the very least you should see a thin film.  Give it a taste and if it’s strong enough, you can begin another batch.  Now that you have the mother, this second batch will work up quicker.

ACV Mother

This is what the mother should look like.

Your First Batch

In a quart size mason jar take 1/2 cup of the vinegar you just made, add the mother and fill the rest of the jar with apple cider.  Cover with a cloth or coffee filter and let set for about 2 weeks.  The amount of time it needs to ferment depends on how warm it is.  The longer it sets, the stronger and better the vinegar.  This is a ferment you can forget about.  It doesn’t need constant tampering.

Like kombucha, each time you add new apple cider, a baby will form.  You can keep them together, divide them and make more ACV or share your mothers with a friend.

You can see the mothers floating sideways here.

I can’t wait until this fall when my apple trees will hopefully produce a bounty of apples.  Talk about fresh apple cider vinegar!  In the meantime, I make my ACV with organic apple cider.

Part of Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday

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61 comments to Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Shalonne

    Hi – this is some great info – thanks! Any ideas on how quickly you start to get the benefits of the ACV in the drink? I’ve tried to mix a bit of ACV in with my kids water before but they can’t stand the taste. I’m wondering if making my own, and letting it not ferment as long will help, but I don’t want to stop the ferment too early…

    • Melanie

      You might find they like this because I think it actually tastes pretty good. Much better than anything I’ve ever bought even after a really long ferment.

      Also, I mix 1-2 tsp in a cup of water with a drizzle of honey. The honey makes it go down better.

  • We also regularly consume ACV tea. Or as we lovingly call it ~ Footy-foot Tea! LOL!

    I like mine a little weaker than DH does, so I put 2 tsp. ACV (DH likes 3 tsp. worth in his) with a level tsp of local honey. Add water and viola! Yummy tea! You get the added benefits of the local honey as well.

    I haven’t ventured into making it yet, but I just might now. We already have kombucha, sourdough starter and both milk & water kefirs fermenting in the kitchen. Why not add one more jar to the mix? 🙂

    Thanks for posting about this.

    • Melanie

      You’re welcome! It is fun to make and it’s nice to have a ferment that you can really just forget about. Easiest thing ever.

  • carrie

    can this be used to pickle with? How long can it be stored?

    • Melanie

      I’m sure it could be used for pickling. I was actually just talking about using ACV for pickling with someone the other day. She said it makes the best pickles. I only do lactofermentation (no vinegar in my pickles) but I’m sure this would be good.
      Vinegar can be stored indefinitely and only gets better with time. It might form a film on top (a new mother) but that can be strained off easily.

    • emily

      Botulinum bacteria make toxins that give you botulism poising which is very serious and deadly. They are present on most veggies (and harmless on fresh eaten veggies). But they grow in anaerobic environments (like a jar filled with liquid!). When preserving food it is very important to prevent botulinum from growing. Both vinegar and fermentation keep foods safe to eat over long periods by controlling the bacteria growth but they do it differently. The salt used in fermenting encourages lactic acid bacteria to grow, those bacteria quickly make lactic acid which botulinum can’t tolerate. Vinegar is used in pickling is because the ph is so high that no bacteria can grow. Home made vinegar may not have high enough ph to kill all the harmful bacteria, such as botulinum. Test your vinegar with ph strips, it should be 7 or higher. Happy pickling.

  • Ruth

    How do you recommend storing the ACV once it has reached the strength you like? Also, is there any preferred type of apple for vinegar making? Another question while we are talking apples… Can you tell us how to make our own pectin?

    • Melanie

      Once it’s strong enough, just bottle it and store in a pantry or cupboard. It doesn’t need to be kept cool. A low light place would be best. It’s vinegar so it will keep indefinitely and just get better over time. It would be an interesting experiment to see if a certain apple type worked better than another or even just to see how the tastes might differ. So far I’ve only made it with organic apple cider.
      I have no idea how to make your own pectin. If you find out, let me know 🙂 I have tried making apple scrap vinegar using cores and peels and it turned out so thick because of the pectin that it was quite unappetizing, lol!

    • Nerdsamwich

      The pectin is all in the peel. To get it out, just stew a pot foll of apple skin until mushy and strain off the liquid. It’ll be chock-full of pectin. Alternatively, you can toss a bit of apple peel into your fruit mix when making jams or jellies and the pectination happens automatically.

  • Melanie,
    Can you just use apple juice? I would love to juice my own apples and just use those as I don’t like to buy what the store sells, even organic.

    • Melanie

      If you juice your own apples, that would make an awesome ACV! That’s what I’m hoping to do once we have apples to juice.

  • Sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try this.

  • Just to be clear, if I can find bottled organic apple juice but not apple cider, can do you think the apple juice will work? I would love to juice my own, but my trees aren’t bearing yet. 🙁 I’m not sure what the difference is between apple juice and apple cider.

    • Melanie

      Hi Elizabeth! Would you believe I thought I had apple cider but it turns out it is actually apple juice? At least that’s what the label says. So apparently apple juice does work! I would suggest using juice not from concentrate but I don’t know if that matters or not either. The difference between apple juice and cider is filtration and pasteurization (though the only cider I ever see around here is pasteurized). My apple juice is cloudy which is why I thought it was cider. Weird.

  • Perfect, thanks! That’s exactly what I needed to know. Hopefully I can find organic unpasturized, and there is some where they specify an amber bottle so I’m thinking that should be a good bet. 🙂

  • Steph

    Hi… I have been making my own ACV. It is VERY simple. Juice 5 gallons of apple juice. Have a 5 gallon bucket (food grade) ready. Pour the juice into the 5 gallon bucket. Add one packet of wine yeast (available at a brewing store). Stir once a day. Cover with a cheesecloth. Let it sit for about 6 weeks, and stir once daily. Strain to desired clarity. Heat strained vinegar to 160 degrees exactly.(NO MORE) Cool. Bottle in sterilized glass jars or bottles. Heat a water bath to 212 degrees. After the water is at 212, put the bottled vinegar into the bath. Leave overnight. Take out of the water in the morning, and wipe off…. store in a cool dark place. BEST vinegar EVER.

  • I am in the process of making mine. I am doing the apple scrap version, an apple/peach mix, then a apple/berry blend. THey are pretty thick (i guess due to the pectin)… i kept thinking it would thin out… i guess not 🙁 i’m sure I could still use it in my drinks. Also, How do you know if your mother is actually mother and not mold? I have a couple areas that are a little bit different color.

    • Melanie

      I scrapped my apple scrap vinegar because the pectin was off-putting to me, lol. I love using just the juice, no weird thickness.

      Mold looks a lot different than a mother. Have you ever made kombucha? The mothers are very similar in appearance. The only difference is an ACV mother will sink and form a new one on top if it’s jostled. Kombucha almost always floats back up. What colors are you seeing? If you see green or black, toss it. Shades of brown are fine and even some yellowish should be ok. If it’s fuzzy, toss it.

  • I’ve never made Kombucha… i’m new to fermenting….Of course I’ve jumped in with both feet making a delicious sauerkraut and several fruit varieties of vinegar. I checked the mother and the other colors are just different shades of brown/tan…. so I think it’s ok. nothing fuzzy. I tried researching the pectin thing and someone said that it thinned over time…. I’ll find a use for it either way. So glad to find your site!

  • Rachel

    Thanks for the great article! I am wondering about using a kombucha scoby to start acv. I have been trying to make a MOV but so far it is just sitting on my counter doing nothing. Maybe I just need to give it more time? It’s been sitting for 3 weeks now and looks just like it did 3 weeks ago. I am new to making my own fermented things, but have successfully made a few things and want to expand my experimentation!

    • Melanie

      I have heard of people using kombucha scoby’s and I think it would be an interesting experiment. At 3 weeks, I’d think you would see something unless where you are is particularly cool. It might need a warmer place or more time.

  • Don Radina

    Keep tasting. At first yeast will ferment the sugar to alcohol. Then acetobacter bacteria convert the alcohol to acetic acid. So the brew goes from sweet to sour. The sweeter the start, the more sour the finish. Putting in some scoby will speed things up. The slower and longer the process the better the vinegar. Industrial process vinegars are sped up by pumping air through them, which makes them inferior. Your home vinegar does have to have access to air, but just take it slow. I once pumped air from a fish tank pump through my brew and it did speed up the process. So just keep tasting, you will know when it turns to vinegar. Gourmet vinegars take years to reach their peak.

    If you want to get fancy you can order a brix tester and acid test kit from wine making suppliers. Lawrence J. Diggs (The Vinegar Man) wrote a book titled “Vinegar: The user-friendly standard text reference & guide to appreciating, making, and enjoying vinegar.”

    • Melanie

      Thanks for the tips, Don! You are so right. It does only get better with time. Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll check it out. I’d like to try experimenting with other vinegars now.

  • Don Radina

    If you can locate some organic apples to juice, the required yeast is already on the apple skins and the acetobacter is in the air everywhere.

    Interesting note: Penicillin was discovered by Louis Pasteur who was trying to find a way to keep wine from turning into vinegar.

  • Anita

    When I dehydrate apples, I leave on the skins but take out the cores/seeds. Would just the cores without the skins make ok apple scrap vinegar? Seems like that would cut down on the pectin issue. ?? I’m getting ready to do some Granny Smith apples and would like to try the vinegar. Maybe remove a lot of the seeds, too? With 2 bushels of apples, I should have plenty of cores for vinegar, yes?

    • Melanie

      That should work since the pectin is in the skin. Maybe remove the seeds that are easy to get at if you want, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Granny Smith vinegar I bet would be amazing!

  • AshleyRoz

    Oh man, I am so glad I found this. Raw ACV is soooooooooo expensive in Poland but organic apples are cheap cheap cheap right now and I just got a juicer. woot!

    • Melanie

      Yay! I juiced a ton of apples yesterday to make into ACV and hard cider. Can’t wait to taste my first batch of super fresh ACV (and cider).

      • Did you use a juicer? (I know, dumb question but I have a juicer and not a cider press and hoping it is ok for small quantities.)

        • Melanie

          I did use a juicer. It was a little tricky because a juicer makes so much foam. I wonder if a press makes less foam. I juiced a gallon and skimmed the foam off the top. Yum! I need to get a hold of more apples. I wish my trees would start producing.

  • Thanks. Me too on the trees. I really babied them this summer so hoping next year…

  • […] We planted 4 apple trees 2 years ago and are still waiting for them to produce fruit.  Hopefully next year?  In the meantime, I was able to score a bushel here and there.  Enough to make lots of apple sauce and a gallon of apple cider.  I’ll have to make a visit home soon to pick up more fresh apple cider to play with.  Some for hard cider, some for Apple Cider Vinegar. […]

  • […] To make this vinegar, you’ll need a large glass jar with a nice wide opening, like shown above minus the glass lid (good air flow is important for vinegar) and a piece of cloth with a rubber band.  You’ll also want an already formed ACV mother.  You can easily make one following these directions: Apple Cider Vinegar. […]

  • I was just wondering if Pear peeling would work to make vinegar with too ? I am putting up pears and thought I would just see.Thank you for the great article.

  • Alexis H

    I just finished my 4th batch of ACV…well not quite finished, has to sit for 5 – 6 weeks now. I used ALOT of apples this fall and wanted to try the peeling/core method. I just added a couple handfuls of scraps into a gallon glass jug, filled 3/4 full w/ filtered water and 1/2 cup of sugar. My 1st two batches sat for 2 weeks before I strained into different jugs. The batches following that sat for 1 week. I just started using a jar from my 1st batch…I was kinda worried, since this was 1st time I’ve every made ACV. It tasted so much better than the store stuff! I’m one of those weird people that can drink ACV straight (must be the German in me?!) It’s sweeter and not so nasal clearing strong. I also noticed the 1st two batches that sat longer in 1st step weren’t as thick during straining.

  • Tess

    Hi Melanie! This is so awesome. We have a huge family and try to use as much unfiltered ACV a week as we can for health benefits. It is over $5.00 for the smaller 16 oz bottle here, when I have seen it for $4.48 for the 32 oz and $2.67 for the 16 oz bottle online. But there are then shipping costs. I feel like the stores around here are gouging people on the prices due to the recent interest by more people. Even as recently as a year ago I paid a LOT less around here for raw acv!

    If you can make raw ACV with apple cider with the mother of another and you have discovered that you can indeed make raw acv with unfiltered apple juice with the mother of another…I wonder (thinking like the mom of a family on a budget that I am) if you can make raw acv in a bottle of the large cheapie filtered jugs of apple cider vinegar with the mother of another that is raw?

    I mean it is already apple cider vinegar…just not as textured, cloudy and healthful as we want. BUT…then if you add back the mother it should continue to grow and feed on that acv base…right?

    I think a BIG jug of apple cider vinegar is way cheaper than a large apple juice. If those bulk size acv’s can be made with a base of filtered acv with a really good starter a cup or 2 of raw acv, that would outsmart those gouging merchants!!! 🙂

    What do you think?

    • That is an interesting idea and you might be on to something. The ACV mother will still need something to eat so if you added maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cider to the vinegar along with the mother, it would probably be great. At least I think so.

    • I would not think it would be a good idea to use the commercial vinegars since they are made by distilling and then adding brown coloring back. Usually. I would just look for a cheap bottle of apple juice. Maybe the frozen kind would even work. It does for frozen grapes making wine. Just the cheapest kind out there. I have a friend who has done this for years.

      • Yes, don’t use filtered and heated ACV and especially don’t use the fake ACV. I use only raw, unfiltered ACV.
        I have tried using frozen apple juice but it just didn’t taste nearly as good as a good apple cider. I use that test batch for my hair rinse which it works great as.

  • Tess

    Sounds like a plan Melanie! 🙂 Meanwhle I am stretching (fingers crossed) my almost $5.00 a 16 0z bottle of Spectrum vinegar (ouch) with fresh organic apple cider in a huge pickle 😉 jar!!! Wish me luck! Thank you.

  • Charles Price Sr.

    I Liked reading your stuff. i am ninety yrs old and my digestion is poor Chas

  • Oh how cool! I GOTTA try this because I wanted to put up some dill pickles this year using unfiltered acv with the mother. I didn’t know you could make your own. I’ve started trying to stock up so I’d have the ACV on hand when I got my cucumbers. I noticed Heinz is making it now and Walmart has it. So I’ve bought 2 jars of it so far and was going to get 2 more last paycheck but they were out of it.
    Thanx for sharing this with us!!!! Saves me some more money! 😉

    • I found the bottle with the most sediment in it from Bragg’s unfiltered ACV. I juiced fresh apples and in 30 days, a sweet ACV..I used Gala and Fuji apples. I want to try some Granny Smith next. I also used a Kombucha scoby and apple juice and it grew and thrived, they tasted about the same after 30 days. I will be doing a pH test soon.

  • Stacie Oswalt

    I have made two batches of apple cider vinegar. Both times I used organic apples, cores and peels. It was 1/4 cup sugar to one quart water untill apple scraps were covered. Let it sit for a week stirring each day to keep it from molding. Then I strained off the aples then filtered the ACV with a cut up sterile t-shirt. I wash it with my whites then rinse it really good and throw it in the microwave for a minute to sterilize. It’s way cheaper then using cheese cloth! I put the vinegar in mason jars, cover with napkin and rubber band and let sit for like six weeks. This last time I put a little Brags ACV and just after a few days it had the mother growing on top. Great way to multi purpose those apples! 🙂

  • Leora

    The difference between apple juice and apple cider is the method. Cider is cold pressed out of raw apples (they are masticated and squished. Apple Juce is extracted with heat. Either can be filtered or un but the heat makes the difference

  • yvette

    Hello, I tried this recipe to make my own mother, 1cup ACV and 1cup apple cider, after 1 month – no mother. There is no fil on top, there is sone thick film on the bottom, but it is stuck there, not floating up when stirred, it gets mixed into the liquid when stirred…
    I make my own kambucha, so I know what a mother looks like…. any ideas what to do or what I did wrong? Thank you

  • jason

    i have a random question. I used 50% braggs apple cider vinegar and 50% white to pickle some jalapenos. is that bad to do as far as pickling. How would i know if its spoiled? is there a smell that would tell me its no good to eat?

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    information, that’s really good, keep up writing.

  • Jim Peters

    Someone asked whether you can make pickles with Bragg ACV, and you said you thought so. I have read that it has the wrong acidity and cannot be used for pickles. Someone told me that there is a way to mix ingredients in a recipe that will fix the acidity, but I can’t find any information.

  • Thanks for posting this article!
    I have been using Braggs for a long time. I am going to make my own now. 🙂
    If you ever want any free samples of our pain relief lotion, just let me know and I’ll send some out to you. No bad smell, burn or side effects.
    I’m going to juice some gala apples that I bought yesterday and add some Braggs to it.
    I’ll let everyone know how it works for us.

  • […] try it soon, hopefully this fall when I can get fresh local apple cider.  Here is her recipe for Apple Cider Vinegar – give it a try sometime! (above photo by Melanie of Pickle Me […]

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